Saturday, April 2, 2011

I love you Yeatsy Bear

"The eyes of a cat will wax and wane with the phases of the moon"
-William Butler (W.B.) Yeats

This past week I lost my constant companion of the past twelve years, W.B. Yeats.  My life would not have been the same without him.

I wish I had more pictures of his early days, but those who know me, know that I am incapable of keeping a computer up and running for very long, so I seem to have lost all early digital photos. None the less, I want to take a moment to tell the entire story of how I suddenly was forced to be a cat person. Way back in 1999, I was alone and working at Kodak, trying to figure out why I could not put weight on my left leg, miserable because I could not run and essentially be me, when I got a very bizarre phone call from my sister.  Phone calls between me and my sister are a rarity.  All she said was that she had stolen a cat and that I should meet her on the Thruway in a few hours (I was in Rochester, she was in Lowell, MA). Seemed like a good idea to me. So four hours later I was a cat person. Yeats was malnourished, had a flee problem, had no claws, and was just in general need of love. That first year I would take him out into fields and teach him to come to me and respond to his name. At nights when I was thinking of how I wish things were different with my life, he would nuzzle up next to my head while I just looked at the stars. What a difference just a little love from a pet can make. Well, I could go on and on forever, but obviously we were stuck with each other from that point on.

Yeats traveled with me to New Jersey, Oregon, Wisconsin, and back to New York again. Yeats loved to look out the window, he would put his paws on the window while we drove and only meowed at tractor trailers. Frankly, I think this just illustrates his intelligence, who does like passing tractor trailers? In New York he really hit his stride. Perhaps I can be comforted by the fact that the last years of his life were the happiest. He learned how to use the dog door and would do nightly patrols of the neighborhood, typically ending up on my neighbors patio to join them while they had beer.  I never saw how Yeats got out the dog door or out of my fenced yard. This was likely by design, I think Yeats wanted to keep this as his little secret.

There will be other cats and other pets, I'm sure, but Yeats will remain my first true love. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The start of the 2011 racing season

The racing season has officially begun. Woo!  I personally think that I've set the bar a tad too high for this season.  Next year I'm making a note to myself to start slower! 

In February, I was recruited to the faculty/staff Noontime Running League at Syracuse University by Roger Hahn, one of the emeritus faculty members in Chemistry, a Department I'm particularly fond of. How can I say no to a fellow chemist who also runs?  So on one Friday afternoon in February I found myself lining up with colleagues from ESF and SU to run an 8k.  I was also a bit intrigued by the thought of running at Manley.  Manley has had a special place in my heart ever since I saw a wild SU-Georgetown game there back in the 90s (when isn't an SU-Georgetown game wild?). I was expecting to trudge along slowly, but much to my surprise, I found myself being paced by my new friend Javier to a new PR of 31:44.  Granted, this is the first time I've ever run indoor track, so anything would be a PR, but for reference, the pace was 20 seconds faster per mile than what I ran for the St. Patrick's Day 8k last year.  Booya!  Happy happy  happy

So that brings us to my first real race of the year on February 27th, the Dahlgren Trail Half Marathon.  I was so hungry to race that waiting for the start was excruciating for me (and probably for Jerille by default).  I semi-missed that weird feeling of being completely nervous to the point where I want to retreat immediately and completely excited to the point where I just want to start running stat!  The race started in waves because of the narrowness of the trail and I was up front with the "elite" wave.  Elite in this case really just meant, the people who wanted the money.  I, not wanting to be cranky on the drive home with Jerille, decided that I was going to have to maximize my win money.  And so I started off strong and held it..the entire race!  Well, I yet again managed to lose all my food and my inhaler..yes..again..really...and so I ran backwards for a bit to see if I could retrieve those items (not successfully))..but otherwise I was totally strong!  The footing was a bit tricky in parts and much to my surprise there were a ton of false flats (for something that used to be a railroad), but all in all I think that race was badass!  I ended up winning for the women by 6:43 and came in 7th overall for the men.  Jerille was rewarded with a happy girlfriend and a nice dinner at our new fave restaurant, Eggspectations.  A great day :)